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Newsweek article on Buddha kicks up a row

January 02, 2010 21:57 IST
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A book by Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria has sparked a row in Nepal, with a top Maoist leader accusing him of misrepresenting facts by claiming that Buddha was born in India, instead of Nepal.

Zakaria, editor of Newsweek and host of a weekly show on international affairs for CNN, has been flayed by Dinanath Sharma, the spokesperson of CPN-Maoist, for writing that the founder of Buddhism was born in India.

The Maoist leader said Zakaria has hurt the sentiment of Nepalese people by claiming in his book, 'The Post-American World', that Buddha was an Indian and Buddhism was born in India.

The objectionable statement of the noted journalist is a serious blow to the sentiment of Nepalese people, Sharma wrote in the Kantipur newspaper.

A Parliament Committee of Nepal has also raised objections to the statement in Parliament and the matter is said to have reached President Ram Baran Yadav, as well as the foreign and home ministries, the Maoist leader said.

"Are we ready to believe that Zakaria wrote this without studying about the Buddha?" he wondered.

"But we are not ready to accept this," he said, adding the writer certainly has in-depth knowledge about Buddha which is evident from the detailed analysis of the subject in the book.

Sharma, the Maoists lawmaker, said Indian school texts also propagate this while there is an effort to build in India's border area a "false Lumbini" - the kingdom in southern Nepal where the Buddha was born - in a bid to perpetuate the myth.

In some schoolchildren were taught that Buddha was born in India, he pointed out.

"This is an expression of the Indian government's expansionist policy," as Zakaria is of Indian origin, Sharma claimed in the Nepalese daily.

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